#ChildNotBride: 70-year-old man ties the knot with 15-year-old girl
The recent marriage of Yakubu Chanji, a man in his 70s to a 15-year-old girl, has sparked a heated backlash on social media.
Reports by The Daily Nigerian reveal that the wedding ‘Fatiha’ occurred on Monday in Lapai, Niger State, with family and friends present to grace the event.
Mr. Chanji, also known as Nafsi-Nafsi in Minna, earned the moniker “Chanji” for his recurrent divorces and replacement of wives.
“He is a philanthropist in Kwangila area of Minna. He has contributed immensely to the community, especially the building of the community mosque,” an anonymous source said.
“We call him Chanji because he regularly ‘changes’ wives. He has married at least 12 times, but other people say it could be up to 20 times.
“What we know is that he always keeps four wives in his house. Once he divorces one, or one of them dies, he chooses a replacement straight away,” the source said.
There is an ongoing outcry on social media against what many deemed “ungodly union” between Chanji and the child bride.
“Stop child marriage let them grow up and decide for themselves,” Human Rights Concern and Welfare Society tweeted.
In November 2016, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo inaugurated the campaign to end Child Marriage and the Strategy Document 2016 to 2020, pledging the Federal Government’s commitment to ending child marriage in Nigeria.
He stated that there is a correlation between child marriage and poverty.
“My presence here today underscores the fact that as far as the federal government is concerned, the campaign is not just for the Ministry of Women Affairs alone, Osinbajo said.
“It is a task for every department of government; our position is clear: `No Child Marriage’.
A global partnership ‘Girls Not Brides’ committed to ending child marriage notes that the physical and emotional well-being of a child who is too young to marry is endangered by child marriage.
A report by the Pew Research Center reveals that Nigeria still ranks #3 on the list of countries where child marriage is prevalent. Pew puts the number of girls married before the age of 18 at 43 per cent.
Although, the Nigerian Constitution does not specify a minimum age for marriage, the minimum age set by The Child’s Rights Act of 2003 is 18 and only 23 states out of 36 enforce the Act.